People with intellectual disability are not only over-represented as victims of crime, they are also over-represented as suspects or alleged offenders within the criminal justice system (French, 2007; Hayes, 2000, in Ellem & Wilson, 2010). Some commentators have suggested that as many as 35 percent of the young people in juvenile justice detention in Australia fall into the mild to moderate range of intellectual disability (West, 2011).

Research demonstrates that people with intellectual disability are most likely to commit offences involving impulsive or unpremeditated behaviour, rather than crimes involving planning and foresight. Offenders with intellectual disability also more likely to commit relatively minor offences, but to commit these offences repeatedly. They are also more likely to be charged with public order offences (French, 2007).

Many people with intellectual disability experience wide-ranging psychological and socio-economic disadvantages, which can predispose them to being charged with public order offences. MacDonald (2008) discusses several examples of the relationship between disadvantage and crime:

  • Poor ability to manage daily life activities, such as budgeting for food and maintaining accommodation, which leads to ‘survival crimes’ 
  • Poor organisational skills and memory, which leads to a failure to meet minor legal obligations 
  • Lack of education and knowledge about socially-acceptable behaviours and behaviours that constitute a crime 
  • Limited sex education and poor ability to discriminate between ‘public’ and ‘private’ behaviours 
  • Visibility in public spaces, as a result of poverty, homelessness and lack of daily occupation, which attracts high levels of surveillance 
  • Congregation amongst high-need populations and ‘survival cultures’ where conflict, abuse and exploitation are common 
  • Learned behaviours resulting from life experiences that include lack of dignity, privacy and respect afforded to their person and property, and victimisation.
Queensland Government media release The Palaszczuk Government will reinstate the Taxi Subsidy Scheme (TSS) for National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) participants. Minister for Disability Services Coralee O’Rourke said the decision came in response to concerns expressed by some Queenslanders...
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Queensland Government media release Wanted: Townsville’s tech and creative types and people with a disability. Why: to solve challenges and create life-enhancing devices. Minister for Disabilities Coralee O’Rourke put out the challenge today to locals to nominate for next month’s “hackathon”...
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The NDIS is being introduced around Queensland in stages. But what exactly IS the NDIS? Is it different to the NDIA? If you’re a bit confused about what it is and how it works then watch this animated film or read the transcript below. The National Disability Insurance Scheme, or NDIS is run by the...
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These South East Queensland (SEQ) forums will bring together a broad range of key stakeholders from across the disability sector skills ecosystem. The aim of the forums is to explore, share and hear insights and to work collaboratively to develop strategies for the greater SEQ NDIS regions (...
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The NDIS will roll out early for existing Queensland Government disability services users in Ipswich, Lockyer, Scenic Rim, Somerset, Bundaberg and the area of Rockhampton, Gladstone and west to the borders. The National Disability Insurance Agency can approve NDIS plans for users of existing...
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Michael Hogan, Director-General of the Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services, has issued a letter which highlights the funding contained in the 2017-18 Budget for Ministers' portfolios within the department. Read the attached letter in full.
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Queensland Government media release Queenslanders with disability are set to benefit from a record $1.887 billion in the State Budget for disability services and the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) rollout. Disability Services Minister Coralee O’Rourke said the Budget again showed the...
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Supported Independent Living (SIL) is assistance with and/or supervising tasks of daily life to develop the skills of individuals to live as autonomously as possible. On 1 June 2017, a new way of processing SIL quotes will be implemented by the NDIA. All providers will be required to use the new...
The Cultural and Linguistic Diversity program of Carers Queensland delivers training and awareness on CALD specific issues to service providers to become more culturally aware employees. Working with people with disability and their carers from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds (...
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Queensland Government media release Townsville’s newest $1.3 million disability housing project will officially opening its doors today, allowing four local people with disability the choice to live in their community, instead of in health and aged care facilities. Disability Services Minister...

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